SAG-AFTRA Assures Members on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ They Aren’t Breaking Strike Rules

ABC reality show operates under the Network Code contract that is separate from union’s current TV/Theatrical strike

Dancing With the Stars Len Goodman Derek Hough
"Dancing With the Stars" judge Len Goodman is gifted with a Mirrorball Trophy (and a "10" from fellow judge Derek Hough) on his last "DWTS" episode (Credit: Disney+)

SAG-AFTRA released a statement on Thursday reiterating that members who are participating on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” are not in violation of the rules of its ongoing TV/Theatrical strike and have the guild’s support to fulfill their contractual obligations.

While the upcoming season of “Dancing With the Stars” is not allowed to mention or use footage from the shows and films that its contestants have participated in, the show itself operates under the Network Code contract, which is separate from the TV/Film contract that SAG-AFTRA has been striking on since July 14.

“The majority of our members on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ had contractual obligations to the show prior to the strike. Many are under option agreements that require them to return to the show if the producer exercises their option, which the producer has done,” the guild’s statement read.

“Our members are also subject to a ‘No Strike Clause’ in the Network Code Collective Bargaining Agreement,” the statement continued. “This means our performers agree not to strike during the term of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and to show up to work during this term (the Network Code runs through June 30, 2024.) By not showing up to work, our performers can be held in breach of contract and the Union is prohibited from advising them not to work.”

SAG-AFTRA’s statement comes as “Veep” star Matt Walsh, who is a member of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA, announced that he is stepping back from participating in the show until a labor contract deal is reached with the Writers Guild, who is in the midst of renewed negotiations with Hollywood studio CEOs and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

ABC is also reportedly considering moving back the premiere of the show’s 32nd season as progress is being made on a new WGA contract. The show’s premiere is currently set to air on ABC and Disney+ on Sept. 26.

“This morning when I was informed by my union, the WGA, that it is considered struck work, I walked out of my rehearsal. I have been and will always stand with my union members of the WGA, SAG and DGA,” Walsh said. “Beyond our union artists, I am sensitive to the many people impacted by the strike and I hope for a speedy and fair resolution, and to one day work again with all the wonderful people I met at ‘DWTS’ who tolerated my dancing.”